Cervelli continues torrid pace with 4-hit night

Pirates catcher lifts average to .331 in victory over Braves

Cervelli continues torrid pace with 4-hit night

ATLANTA -- Francisco Cervelli spent much of May getting hit, and now he's hitting back. The Pirates catcher, who seemed to spend last month on his knees recovering from foul tips off various parts of his body, is making pitchers cower.

Cervelli's contribution to the Bucs' 10-8 win over the Braves on Friday night -- their 12th in the last 14 games -- was the second four-hit game of his career. It had been nearly five years since the first -- on Aug. 29, 2010 -- but this one merely prolonged his tear.

In his past 14 games, Cervelli has hit .438 (21-for-48) to raise his season mark to .331, by far the best among Major League catchers. One of those catchers, Russell Martin, is batting .262 in Toronto.

"Once he got through that stretch of games, with all the foul tips and dirt balls and everything, he's played real good baseball for us," manager Clint Hurdle said of Cervelli. "He's framing [pitches] well, blocking well, calling a good game. And then to show up with such a big offensive night ... he's been really good for us back there."

Having Cervelli produce offensively is not a major surprise. Last season, he hit .301 for the Yankees before an offseason trade to Pittsburgh. Having him able to catch 39 of the Bucs' first 54 games is a pleasant development, however, given his track record for getting hurt. He's putting the hurt on National League pitchers instead.

Touching all the bases

• First: Gregory Polanco (nine games) and Neil Walker (eight) extended hitting streaks.

• Second: The Bucs are making their home runs count this season. Only 27 of their 47 homers have been solo shots, compared with 97 of 156 in 2014.

• Third: The Pirates have reached double-figures in the hit column 14 times in their last 18 games.

• Home: The Bucs' season began with them getting swept in Cincinnati, and they suffered another early-season sweep in St. Louis. Yet, Friday night's win evened their overall road record at 15-15.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.